I spent many Saturday afternoons stood at the back of a football stand that crumbled to the touch but echoed the voices of die-hard Wrecsam fans as far as whatever was there before Eagles’ Meadow.
Dropped off in Pen-y-ffordd train station and 15 minutes and 90p later I’d be joined by hundreds of school friends to queue up to pay £7 for the privilege of cheering on the Dragons from the famous Kop.
I’ve seen many fantastic sites from the Kop (even though my bum was first placed in the old Eric Roberts stand opposite the Kop for a 2-2 draw with Stockport County in September 1995) such as beating Middlesbrough 2-1 in 1999 and the famous 3-1 win over Boston that secured our football league status. It was magical.
As a traditionalist, I like to believe that ancient heritage can be preserved. The sad reason why traditionalist values cannot be applied to the Kop stand at the Racecourse is that, frankly, I’m surprised it hasn’t fallen down already.
Weeds growing between the concrete steps, rust on the rails, powder metal sheets to stop rain (which often failed) and a white wall at the back with a sign saying “Toiledau / Toilets.”
I would often stand and look out towards what was then the Sainsbury’s stand and think how awesome the Racecourse would look if the stands’ roofs were continued at one height all around the stadium. Lights and Wrecsam badges would don the overhangs all around the place. The famous Wrecsam faithful singing in full voice – amplified by the caged atmosphere. Such imagination could only be nurtured in a stadium like the Racecourse.
A few years ago when Prifysgol Glyndŵr University acquired the stadium, a picture did the rounds of a few forum sites for fans of the football club. The picture (below) depicts what the stand could potentially look like from the pitch.
Despite the name of the club on the seats not being in Welsh, the potential of the old stand once again caught my imagination. And the following picture (released by the university in the same year) did nothing to dampen the new-found hope that was burning in the imagination of Dragons fans everywhere.
The other night I had a dream. It was one of those lottery-winning ones where your bank balance has more numbers than Countdown.
I dreamt that I’d won the EuroMillions jackpot. The first thing I did was enquired into the purchase of the Kop stand and all lands to its rear from the university. In my dream, Glyndŵr’s representatives were very cooperative.
My plans included a new stand similar to the pictures above but with a few differences.
The roof of the Yale Stand / Cash4Gold Stand / Centenary Stand / Sainsbury’s stand were extended to reach the middle of the new Kop.
Inside was split into three sections; the stand’s concourse to the left (looking for the pitch) selling Wrecsam memorabilia, replica kits, Wrexham Lager and match-day food; the middle section became a teaching room for free Welsh-language tuition for anyone who fancied it; and the final third housed my own home. Cool, huh?
The use of Welsh would be everywhere. From giving a bilingual tour through Wrecsam’s history to Welsh-only signage for things like the ‘toiledau,’ ‘siop’ and ‘byrgyrs.’
Facing the train station, the new stand would depict Wrecsam’s original Maelor crest – illuminated in bright, neon lights. £7 entry every time.
Ok, so I’m not quite sure where the crossover point between my dream and the morning after I awoke is with regards to my ideas for a new Kop at the Racecourse but I do know that it’d be flippin’ bendigedig.
I wonder if the bank / a wealthy fan would offer me some dosh to push through the plans. So long as I could make it a viable, profit-making business venture I’m sure someone would be willing to share in the idea. Maybe Prifysgol Glyndŵr University themselves? Who knows?
Imaginative smiley face 😉